September 2, 2008
I’m a little late to the party (check out Scrangie’s swatches) but, of course, I have to give you guys my take on one of the biggest collections to hit us this Fall. I wasn’t all that excited for OPI France when I initially saw the promotional images. OPI has a proclivity for releasing several reds and ‘almost blacks’ in just about every collection and, frankly, it gets old. The promos of France made it seem like more of the same. Consequently, I wasn’t expecting to like these. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this collection is actually pretty cool.
Sure, a few of the colors were fairly run of the mill OPI type stuff. I’m not doing back flips for OPI Louvre me Louvre Me Not (ducks to avoid thrown stones, tomatoes, assorted rotting vegetables), but there are several solid gorgeous, unique colors in this collection. There have been a few complaints about colors in the France collection being thick and difficult to apply but I didn’t have any real trouble with them.
As a side note, I really feel like OPI did a good job of designing colors that are representative of French culture and fashion. I say that because I felt like they could have done more with the Indian collection, it’s good to see that they were spot on with France.
*Dies* OPI You Don’t Know Jacques is my absolute favorite color from this collection. Seriously, every once a while an amazing color like this comes out and renews my passion for nail polish. The color is tough to describe, grayish, brownish, dirty, mushroomy? This is my current NOTD, 2 coats, love it. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, love these grayed out mushroomy colors. I just can’t get enough.
OPI Yes… I Can-Can! is a shimmery eggplant type color. The base color seems similar to OPI Lincoln Park After Dark. The shimmer seems multi-colored, I see flashes of green, silver, and violet in the bottle. On the nail, it’s silvery and serves to give Yes… I Can-Can! depth. This swatch is 3 coats but with careful application good coverage is possible at 2 coats.
OPI Tickle My France-y is my second favorite color from this collection. It’s a grayed out subtle nude pink – it is chic and sophisticated perfection. Earlier last week, when I went back into the professional nail color purgatory, Tickle My France-y was the first color I chose for the big switch. This color was so beautiful, so flattering that I didn’t even care about being forced to wear professional colors. This mani was 3 coats.
OPI Parlez-vous OPI?, another stand out color, is a grayed-out (or smokey as OPI puts it) plum. The application was slightly troublesome, my bottle was chalky and thick but it’s workable. This is 2 coats.
OPI Louvre Me Lourve Me Not is my least favorite color from this collection. Sorry guys, I know I’m completely alone, everyone else loves this one. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this color but I have a predisposition to disliking shimmers and I’ve just had my fill of shimmery mid-range purples this fall. You can’t really see it in my image but Louvre Me Lourve Me Not has blurple and violet shimmer. This swatch is 3 coats.
OPI I’m Fondue of You is a reddish light chocolaty brown with reddish brown shimmer. I don’t love this one. It’s pretty but not special. This swatch is 2 coats, I think the color would look better with 3.
OPI Eiffel for this Color is an ‘almost black’. OPI says it’s wine but it looks dark purple with violet shimmer to me. It’s similar to Yes… I Can-Can! but they’re different enough to warrant owning both if one is so inclined to do so. Normally, I would say boo to an almost black but I, surprisingly, like this color. This swatch is 2 coats.
Scrangie called OPI Crepes Suzi-ette a ‘mom’ color… it is – but – it’s hot. I think this one ventures into the realm of work appropriate. I’m actually surprised that I like this color too. I probably wouldn’t have batted an eye at this creamy reddish caramel in a store, but it’s actually very flattering on the nail. I would even dare say that it’s unique. This swatch is 2 coats.
There will always be reds in an OPI collection, shockingly there were only two in the France Collection. One of which, OPI Bastille My Heart, is a deep burgandy with violet shimmer throughout. Pretty, but standard.
OPI Baguette Me Not, a creamy salmon, is another shocker. Totally didn’t expect to like this ‘mom’ (haha) color but I love it. Very chic, very work appropriate. This swatch is 2 coats.
OPI A Oui Bit of Red, the other red in the France Collection, is a mid-range bright red. I love reds and I would have loved this one too, but for the shimmer. The saving grace is that the fuschia shimmer is very subtle, hardly noticeable. This swatch is 2 coats.
Finally, OPI We’ll Always Have Paris. Love. It. This is the color that I wanted the annoyingly almost black OPI Lincoln Park After Dark to be. I love LPAD but I always wanted it to be more noticeably purple and vampy. OPI granted my wish with We’ll Always Have Paris. Strangely, OPI says this color is dark coffee… definitely looks dark reddish purple to me.
Special thanks to OPI.
August 29, 2008
I’m so happy that you guys actually enjoy these work appropriate posts. The work appropriate theme is going to comprise a huge portion of a my posts for a while since I mostly write about the colors I’m currently wearing. : )
In any case, close to 1/4 of my collection are ‘work appropriate’ colors. You’d be surprised at how much variation there are in the classic professional looking colors. Nudes, taupes, pinks, and soft shades don’t have to be boring. I’m going to start a series of articles showcasing 3 of my favorite work appropriate colors from all my favorite brands. First up, Rescue Beauty Lounge.
I’m sure that no one will be shocked that Scrangie was the source of my lemmings for the following 3 colors.
Rescue Beauty Lounge Om is a strangely calming color, making the name very appropriate. Even so, it’s probably the most ‘serious’ muted pink in my collection. This swatch is 3 coats of Om, 1 coat of Seche Vite.
Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge is my stick-it-to-the-man color (Ohh hoo hoo I’m sitting in your meeting wearing a color called Grunge, ha!). It’s a serious business appropriate color but at the same time it’s very moody and edgy. This color came out a while ago but it fits perfectly into the current mushroomy grayed-out color trend. Grunge looks creme 99.9% of the time but it actually has a whitish shimmer throughout. The shimmer is not highly light refractive which is why no one will ever see it. The danger of Grunge (and all similar mushroomy grayed-out colors like it) is that it may be a tough color to pull of successfully. Mushroomies seem to not flatter very pale skin tones and are seemingly more suitable to skin tones like my own. This swatch is 3 coats, 1 coat of Seche Vite.
Finally, Rescue Beauty Lounge Opaque Nude. Scrangie’s swatch (linked above) is a more accurate depiction of Opaque Nude’s bottle color. My swatch is darker due to lighting and my skin tone which brings out the ‘nudeness’ of this color. In my opinion, Opaque Nude is border-line business appropriate, perfectly okay for a less conservative office. I say this only because it might be too obvious. I feel like business appropriate colors have to be subtle, pretty but not necessarily noticeable and for most people this color will be very noticeable.
August 27, 2008
I’m starting a new clinical internship this week. This past weekend, I longingly looked through my collection which is sorted into two groups, professional-looking colors and unprofessional/out of the ordinary colors. As my ‘last hurrah’ I wanted a color that was summery, bright, and cheery. I chose Rescue Beauty Lounge Coral.
I know what everyone is thinking, “don’t sweat having to wear professional-looking colors during the week, you have the weekends!” The bittersweet aspect of nail polish blogging is that I spend my weekends swatching so I can’t do fun weekend manicures. Boo.
Now let’s talk color.
Rescue Beauty Lounge Coral is g o r g e o u s. I began lemming this one because of the bottle image on the Rescue Beauty Lounge site. I don’t know why but I was immediately drawn to it.
It’s very chameleon-like in the sense that color varies in different lighting. It can be described as a bright pink, sometimes coral, sometimes orange-y. Tink over at Casual Lavish also swatched Coral; her skin tone is different than mine so it will give you an idea of how the look of this color can vary.
It’s not the same shade as Color Club Sexsea but the transient quality of Coral was reminiscent of the same quality in Sexsea. Tough to describe but really, really hot. I suppose it’s telling that the last time I wore Sexsea was after a long spat of compulsory professional color manicures. It was liberating wearing such a bright strange sexy color. That’s the feeling I was trying to duplicate by choosing Rescue Beauty Lounge Coral and that’s exactly how it made me feel. Sadly, I removed this color on Sunday after only 3 days of wear. As expected from Rescue Beauty Lounge’s voodoo wear, it still looked amazing. I chose OPI Tickle My France-y for my first day of work. *sobs quietly*
As a side note: I recently started experimenting with different base coats. For this manicure, I used the Rescue Beauty Lounge base coat, 3 coats of Rescue Beauty Lounge Coral (3 was necessary to cover VPL), and 1 coat of Seche Vite. I don’t have a final opinion yet but I can share some purely qualitative observations. The RBL base coat isn’t billed as a ridge filler but that’s actually what it is. It’s milky but not as thick as a ridge filler like Barielle Camouflage. Like all ridge fillers, it makes applying some colors really easy but can make other colors more difficult to apply. So far, I like it.
August 25, 2008
Please read the bold disclaimers under Agent Lavender & Secret Peri-wink-le.
China Glaze has really gone above and beyond this Fall – all three of their new collections are mostly composed of what I consider to be unique colors. Operation Colour is particularly special because these colors are not typically reminiscent of Fall. It’s like China Glaze is saying, hey, you don’t have to spend the entire fall in muted, dark colors – extend the summer just a bit (which to me, as a Floridian, makes perfect sense). Rumor has it that this collection will be available online in about a week or so.
I know I say this in just about every post and sadly I will have to continue to do so until I’m no longer an impoverished student that cannot afford a better camera: this color is not blue in real life, China Glaze Agent Lavender is very visibly a light lavender. The consistency of the polish reminded me of China Glaze Second-hand Silk – it’s a chalky 3 coater. My bottle was a bit on the thick side but I don’t think that is going to be representative of the polish as a rule. Every blog that has covered China Glaze this season has complained about application issues, always in reference to different colors. If you happen to unluckily chance upon a thick bottle of polish, from any brand, a few drops of generic nail polish thinner will do the trick – do not use nail polish remover for this purpose. (In real life Agent Lavender is much lighter than it appears in this photo, I’m really sorry guys I know how annoying this is – swatches are supposed to be accurate.)
China Glaze Code Orange is pumpkin with pinkish shimmer. The shimmer is very obvious outdoors although not as pink as it looks in the bottle. In doors, not surprisingly, it looks like a creme. The color is a slightly darker orange than it appears in the image above. There were no application issues with this color – I think it looks better with 3 coats but it’s definitely wearable at 2.
China Glaze Golden Opportunity is a shimmery mustard yellow. I had some major cuticle drag with this color, but it’s workable at 3 coats.
China Glaze Pink Underground is a Barbie pink laced with magenta toned shimmer. It, too, was chalky and a bit on the thick side. The base color is 2 or 3 shades darker than China Glaze Second-hand Silk.
China Glaze Revolution is an ultra glossy bright orangey-red. It had the best application of the bunch, easy, smooth, perfect in 2 coats. No matter how often I see them, I never ever *ever* get tired of these bright reds. Gorgeous.
And finally, China Glaze Secret Peri-wink-le. Geez. I’m almost ashamed to post this picture – unlike my depiction of this color, it is not blue at all, it actually is periwinkle. This is the standout color from the collection as far as I’m concerned. I absolutely love out of the ordinary colors with a creme finish. To me the absence of shimmer is synonymous with chic sophistication, no offense to shimmer lovers. For as long as I can remember unique colors are almost always also shimmery. It happens so often that I associate shimmer with commonness. Don’t get me wrong. I wear shimmers, most of the time begrudgingly. I mean, I don’t hate them per se. I just prefer cremes and it’s just great to see some variation in finish choice. (In real life Secret Peri-wink-le is lighter and not as bright blue as it appears in this photo, again I am SO sorry, this really is unacceptable but despite trying different settings, my camera always takes inaccurate images when it comes to blues and purples. The best I can do for now is try to accurately describe these for you.)
Special thanks to China Glaze.
August 17, 2008
As I said in the previous post, I like simple red or vampy cremes – they’re classy, sophisticated, and almost always appropriate for any occasion. No, they aren’t unique, and yes, we’ve seen these colors before but as far as I’m concerned polish companies can continue to make as many vampies as they want with no criticism from me. I suppose the problem is most people, Scrangie for example, don’t feel the same way, which is why Zoya Vibe hasn’t gotten as much love as its shimmery sister collection Pulse. I prefer Vibe over Pulse a million times over, but I think might just be the only person on earth that feels that way. I didn’t have any application issues with Vibe, except where noted. Almost all these colors applied perfectly with 2 coats.
Zoya Sam and Zoya Nina look deceptively similar but that’s due to my inadequacy as a photographer. In person, they are noticeably different with Sam being more berry toned and Nina being very visibly brown. This swatch is 3 coats. Zoya Sam gave me some cuticle drag, so a third coat was necessary to even the application out. I think good coverage with 2 coats is possible, I was just being impatient with my swatches. I think Sam will always be slightly darker on the nail than the bottle color because it darkens as it dries.
If you read my blog often, you’ll know that brown is one of my white whales. Even though I passionately love all browns, I have a tough time finding browns that flatter my skin tone. I’m finding that darker browns like Nina and Essie Chocolate Kisses suit my skin tone pretty well. As stated above, Zoya Nina is visibly brown despite it’s darkness in my image. This is two coats – I didn’t have any issues with the application.
Zoya Riley is a magenta based deep vampy red. This is 2 coats.
The difference between Dakota and Riley, for those who are wondering, is that Dakota doesn’t have the magenta undertones. They look very similar in the bottle but they actually are different colors. This swatch is two coats.
I don’t know what it is with this collection but there are 3 pairs of colors that look similar to each other in the bottle but not on the nail. Two pairs I’ve already addressed, the last pair is Zoya Asia and Alix. They look pretty similar in the bottle, but Asia is brighter. Both are true reds. This swatch is 2 coats.
And finally, Zoya Alix, I did have some issues with this one. I had a wonky brush, which was shocking because I love Zoya brushes. I’ve never had a wonky Zoya before. Even when I passionately hated Zoya, I was still a fan of their brushes which are the perfect shape and size for my nails. The brush I got in Alix had a crooked bristle, ultimately it wasn’t a big deal. The wonkiness was easily fixed by just trimming the rogue bristle. The other issue was that Zoya Alix was a little tougher to apply than the other colors in this collection. I didn’t get full coverage at 2 coats and I had a significant amount of cuticle drag. However, a third coat fixed everything to my satisfaction.
Special thanks to Zoya.
July 28, 2008
Oh the horror (… dun… dun… dunnnnn). This was my 2nd or 3rd mani after the Tragic Nail Breaking Incident of 2008. I decided to revisit it today because, well, my index nail broke again. I’ve dubbed this break the “Tragic Nail Breaking During Swatching Incident of 2008”, the whole sordid tale will be disclosed at a later date. In any case, I began waxing poetic about the deeper meaning behind a broken tip. It’s like the time I fell off the treadmill at the gym and had an existential crisis, there are existential implications here too. My nails break, therefore I am? Descartes just turned in his grave, I’m sure.
I never posted this swatch because I really fudged the application and I was so defeated by the break that I just didn’t have the strength of will to clean it up. So, that’s my big secret, sometimes I just paint my nails however and wash off the excess in the shower. In fact, the only time I ever do real clean up with a little orange wood stick, remover, and cotton, is when I’m swatching for you guys. For regular manis, if I mess it up, which I do sometimes, I just let it ride.
July 24, 2008
Ji Baek did it again. I am not a fan of creme sheers and I am completely and totally taken with this collection. Of course, I expected nothing less than perfection from Rescue Beauty Lounge – Ji and company consistently design colors that are in a league all of their own. Ji conjured up the Spongebob Squarepants Collection after hearing that Marc Jacobs drew inspiration for his collections from the popular children’s TV show. I love that these delicate sophisticated colors were designed based on a TV show, the silliness of which is rivaled only by Ren & Stimpy.
If delicate isn’t your thing, Ji says these colors look positively amazing layered over Rescue Beauty Lounge Underwear, the brightest white on the market. The brightness of Underwear gives these sheer colors a back-lit effect. As soon as I get my hands on Underwear, I’ll hook you guys up with swatches. Until then, enjoy these polishes in their unadulterated form.
These swatches are 4 coats each, taken in artificial light. I prefer sunlight images but I got home too late from work and I just had to show these to the world tonight. Despite having been taken in artificial light, these swatches are true and accurate depictions of these colors. It goes without saying at this point that the application of these polishes was perfect, not a streak insight.
If my addiction to nail polish could be expressed in one color, Rescue Beauty Lounge Bikini Bottom would be that color. At first glance this blue looks dupish to Color Club Blue Light and China Glaze For Audrey, both of which I also love. Sorry guys, no such luck. Bikini Bottom is a very light watery blue, almost jelly like in its delicate finish. For Audrey is a greener blue creme, not jelly at all. Blue Light is a brighter light blue, also creme, no jelly. The only downside to this color is that I don’t think it can be pulled off at 2 coats – that and, this color should have been named Squidward. : P
Most people think that yellow is a difficult color to wear, Rescue Beauty Lounge Square Pants will prove those people wrong. I think there is a commonly accepted notion that yellow tends to run the risk of looking a bit garish, but Square Pants is soft and delicate. It’s visibly yellow, not pastel, but it’s not shocking on the nail. This color was put on earth for people who want to try yellow but fear it might be ‘too much’. Perfect.
Spongebob may be the star of the TV show, but for most people, Rescue Beauty Lounge Starfish Patrick is the star of this collection. Described as “wispy peach coral”, it’s definitely the most accessible of the 3 colors. Bikini Bottom is my personal favorite, but my NOTD right now is Starfish Patrick, primarily because it’s subtle enough for work.
I did take some swatches of Square Pants and Starfish Patrick at 2 coats for those of you who are not sheer polish adverse.
As you can see, these colors are wearable and streak-free even at 2 coats.
Special thanks to Ji Baek and Rescue Beauty Lounge.
July 9, 2008
A while back I wrote an article complaining about NARS Zulu and the insistence of the nail polish industry of discontinuing highly sought after colors. I understand that creating ‘limited edition’ nail polish inflates demand and creates profits for nail polish companies, but discontinuing really highly sought after colors doesn’t make any sense from a business stand point. NARS Zulu, for example, has been off the market for over a year and still consistently sells for $70+ on ebay. That’s profit that is going to scalpers when it could be going to the polish companies. It just seems like bad business sense to not re-release those colors.
In any case, I still don’t own Zulu. Whenever I’m near a balcony, I run out on to it à la A Streetcar Named Desire and scream , ” Zuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuluuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!! Zuuuuuuuuuuuuuluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!” A long time ago I bought all the supplies to attempt to franken Zulu. I never did it because frankening Zulu was akin to accepting I would never own it. I’m starting to accept that, so I gave the franken a shot.
Here are some of the greens in my collection.
Unfortunately none of these are exact dupes of Zulu. Check out Blogdorf Goodman for swatches of Anna Sui #915 and Chelsea Psycho Green which are traditionally thought of as Zulu dupes and are, unfortunately, as difficult to find as Zulu. Chelsea Psycho Green, also pictured above, is very close but Zulu is a creme with a jelly finish and Psycho Green has very subtle shimmer visible only in the light, no jelly finish.
I bought Icing Envy and New York Summer Amaranth specifically for the purpose of trying to duplicate Zulu. I’ve seen an Amaranth based Zulu franken before, it was dead on. Amaranth has a jelly quality that is similar to Zulu so it’s a perfect base green for Zulu frankens, just add black. The only problem was that I loved Amaranth so much I didn’t want to use it for a franken. I decided to try it out only with Icing’s Envy (which I also love but happen to have two bottles). I’ll order a second bottle of Amaranth to franken with and post my results later, I promise.
I mixed roughly half a mini bottle of Icing Envy with the rest being 1/4 OPI Black Onyx and 1/4 OPI Top Coat. This is what I ended up with:
And this is Ponchy’s picture of Zulu:
As you can see, I failed, while I like the color I ended up with, my franken looks nothing like Zulu.
Zulu escapes me again.
Special thanks to my love Ponchy for allowing me to use her image in this post. : )
July 8, 2008
Every once in a while I’ll see a color on someone else that will stir the addict inside me. Essie Barbuda Banana wasn’t that polish – it was actually Maybelline Banana Puddin’. I searched everywhere for it to no avail. Scalpers aren’t big on carrying discontinued drug store brand polishes, so it’s really tough to find these colors once they are off the initial market. I decided to settle for a dupe instead – that’s when I heard about Essie Barbuda Banana which also happens to be discontinued and hard-to-find, of course. I knew I would have more luck searching for this one since it’s a higher-end brand, and so I renewed my search for a pastel yellow.
Essie actually makes finding discontinueds fairly easy because they sell them on their website under Bye Buy Colors. You just have to let them know what you’re looking for and they’ll message you back if they have it. The catch, and of course – there is *always* a catch, is that Essie ups the retail price from $8 to $10 and charges you an arm for the shipping. Dejected, I turned to evilbay (from hereon – “the place that shall not be named”) where I found Essie Barbuda Banana for about 15 bucks shipped. Normally, I wouldn’t pay that much for a discontinued but I was really jonesing this color. The day after the auction ended someone put up an auction for Maybelline Banana Puddin’ at $3. D’oh.
Do I regret the purchase? No. The application, to put it plainly, sucks, this swatch is 4 hard-as-hell-to-apply coats. But what I can say, I love the color. I hear that Maybelline Banana Puddin’ has equally crappy application so it might just be a function of pastel yellow. This picture isn’t a very accurate depiction of the color, both Banana Puddin’ and Barbuda Banana are a slightly brighter, yet still pastel, yellow. If you don’t want to shell out the mad cash and you just can’t find Banana Puddin’ the easiest way to go about sticking it to the man is frankening your own. This is a really easy franken, you just need a yellow, take your pick there’s about 80 on the market right now (Color Club Yell-oh, Essie Shorty Pants, Zoya Creamy, Misa Hangin’ With the Girls, OPI the ‘It’ Color, OPI Need Sun Glasses, China Glaze Solar Power, Rescue Beauty Lounge Yellow Fever, NYC Taxi Cab and on and on and on) and a white (I would choose one from whatever brand your yellow of choice comes from.) You need roughly 2 parts yellow, 1 part white to end up a pastel yellow.
July 2, 2008
This is my attempt at a patriotic mani for the 4th of July. I used the following: OPI The Thrill of Brazil (and believe me, the irony is not lost on me), Rescue Beauty Lounge Dead Calm, Art Club by Color Club White and Silver Glitter, both of which are available individually or in the Art Club Bridal Kit.
I was torn over whether to use Silver Glitter or the tiny little silver crystals that come in the Bridal Kit. I ultimately decided to just wing it with the glitter. I’m a major newb at nail art so I have to say – for a first attempt, I’m really pleased with the results.
First let me say, I am so sorry about the sub-par application and lighting, again. I’ll be back to my usual application and lighting soon, I promise I’ll get it together. Second, OPI The Thrill of Brazil is one of my favorite reds, EVER. It applies like butter. Opaque in one coat, perfect in two – this red shines like there is no tomorrow. Simply, gorgeous. For the blue, I used Rescue Beauty Lounge Dead Calm. It was great for this mani because it, too, is opaque in one coat. I was able to use just one brush stroke for the blue behind the stars. Click here for a swatch of Rescue Beauty Lounge Dead Calm.
Finally, Art Club by Color Club – amazing. I’ve had the Bridal Kit and the Carnaval Kit for a while now but I’ve been stuck in professional-mani purgatory since the beginning of the summer so I haven’t been able to try them out until today. And WOW, I love these nail art polishes. The super long ultra fine brush is incredibly easy to use. The kits in general are pretty great. They come with 4 or so nail art polishes in assorted colors or glitters, decals, beads, stones, and other cute little accents.
To celebrate my nail freedom in exactly one month, I’m planning on breaking out all my accumulated nail art products. Seriously, I’ve been stock piling nail art supplies for a few months now in anticipation of a ridiculously elaborate nail art week on The Polish Addict, so if you’re secretly into the kitsch, like me, stay tuned.